UAAP: Animo Squad retains seventh place, FEU Cheering Squad regains CDC title

The UAAP Season 86 Cheerdance Competition (CDC) featured stirring and eye-catching performances in front of a jam-packed crowd of 18,122 earlier today, December 2, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. With eight participating universities returning to fight for the crown with their high-flying routines, the spectators were once again stunned with this season’s sets. Despite a much improved routine compared to their Season 85 outing, the DLSU Animo Squad wrapped up with the same finish, bagging seventh place. Yet, they topped their previous score of 528.5 with 555.5 points.

The FEU Cheering Squad stood atop all competitors, earning their fourth CDC title while being the only team to cross the 700-point mark with a score of 702.5. They dethroned last season’s champions, the NU Pep Squad, whose performance had a total of 697 points, clinching the first runner-up spot. The UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe, meanwhile, maintained their podium placements, finishing as the second runner-up with 684 points.

First half kick-off

Starting off the event with a bang was the UE Pep Squad who wore green outfits with slicked back red hair—a nod to their school color. The Recto-based group showcased a nostalgic 90s Anime theme, featuring classic Japanese animated shows that made its scene in the Philippines during that decade. True to this, the team switched up and donned anime-inspired costumes, as the women wore colorful skirts of Sailor Moon, while men sported Goku’s orange gi from Dragon Ball. These, coupled with crafted dragon balls for props, got the MOA Arena crowd roaring for this year’s opening performers.

Following UE, the defending champion NU Pep Squad was next to take the blue mats. The team set the tone with their gold and white attire and high-flying stunts and flips that were similar to last year’s routine to begin their set. Embodying the King of Rock and Roll, the squad grooved to the songs of the star Elvis Presley, while incorporating various dance genres such as Locking, Funk, and Rock and Roll. At the latter part of their routine, the group successfully executed a series of pyramids before finally revealing their hot red guitar props and contrasting blue capes to top off their costumes. To end their performance, the NU Pep Squad struck the iconic Elvis pose—pointing to their crowd, as they roared in cheers.

After the team from Sampaloc, ADMU’s Blue Babble Battalion took the floor, hoping to improve on their eighth place finish in last year’s CDC. The group from Katipunan came from the dugout with all-white outfits that they switched twice while dancing to all-time pop hits such as DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” and Rihanna’s “Work,”​​ to emanate their Super Bowl halftime show motif. Though the team committed multiple errors early on, their pyramids were successful, much to the satisfaction of the spectators in blue and white. Bruno Mars’ music shined for Ateneo toward the end, which they followed with Katy Perry’s “California Girls” and matching beach ball props to throw up in the air to close their routine.

Capping off the first half of performances was the AdU Pep Squad with their movie-inspired piece Trolls. Sporting sky blue outfits with purple accents, Adamson featured a flawless run at the start of their performance with coordinated flips, successions, and stunning pyramid formations. Midway, they had playful steps to Justin Timberlake’s iconic “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” staying true to their chosen theme. Though the squad committed a handful of errors, AdU was quick to adjust and recover. The Pep Squad featured red flowers for props and blue headwear to conclude their colorful presentation. 

Unleashing the crowd favorites 

With the hopes of returning to their winning ways after several years being out of the podium, the UP Varsity Pep Squad brought nostalgic vibes that got the crowd singing along to Filipino classic hits. The squad from Diliman came to the mats for their Eraserheads-themed performance in blue jumpers and started with near-perfect stunts and pyramid formations. UP had truly mastered the art of bringing the unmatched feeling of old music from their previous seasons; this year was no different as they danced to some of the top hits of Eraserheads, namely, “Overdrive,” “Ang Huling El Bimbo,” and “Huwag Kang Matakot.”  The team kept their tradition alive and bannered their iconic oblation pose to conclude their high-spirited performance to the tune of “Alapaap.”

After the Maroons came their new hardcourt rivals, La Salle. The DLSU Animo Squad entered the mats in eye-catching glistening costumes fit for their Latin Pop routine. The team from Taft made the crowd go wild with newly executed pyramids that they had never done in the competition. Their high tosses that accentuated their form and pyramid sequences were clear evidence to the massive improvement of the team this season. Their stunts and tosses that transitioned to their pyramids got the crowd on their feet. No Animo Squad cheerdance performance is complete without the mighty archer pose, which they, without fail, used to wrap up their routine.

After the Green and White came the Green and Gold. The FEU Cheering Squad brought in the fun and vibrant energy to the floor with their Mario-inspired performance—far from their usual themes of pop icons. It is no surprise that FEU bagged the Yamaha Most Unique Dance Move after they replicated the iconic Mario jump and seamlessly integrated it in their routine to drive home their theme. They also bagged all the other special awards, such as the Skechers Stylish Performance Team Award, BYS Best Toss Winner, Juicy Cologne Juicy-fied Pyramid, and the Silka Best Awra Dance Move. Their excellent performance—complete with a dancing Bowser, Luigi, Princess Peach, Goomba, and even Mario Karts—was capped off with the most prized award of becoming the champions of this year’s CDC. 

Keeping the energetic crowd going, the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe brought the BLACKPINK concert feeling in the area, dancing to some of the girl group’s biggest hits such as “BOOMBAYAH,” “DDU-DU DDU-DU,” “How You Like That,” “Lovesick Girls,” and “Kill This Love,” among many more. With lightsticks out in the crowd alongside the team’s black and pink dyed hair, UST flaunted unique pyramids that got the crowd eccentric. The España-based team also unveiled their second costume in pink with remarkable black and gold accents. The dance troupe concluded their performance with four of their dancers on four podiums to represent the members of the iconic girl group—Lisa, Jennie, Rosé, and Jisoo.


As the team concluded this year’s CDC in seventh place, DLSU Animo Squad Head Coach Ramon Pagaduan IV expressed his high satisfaction to the team’s revitalized performance. Meanwhile, Team Captain Lance Lacsamana became emotional as he expressed his appreciation to everyone who supported the Animo Squad leading up to this long-awaited day. 

“I think ang difference from last year is [that] people are more glued together. We have less rookies, so mas maraming mas marurunong, mas senior, and I’m glad these are the people I competed with. I wouldn’t change it for anything and I’m proud of everyone,” Lacsamana bared. 

(We have less rookies, so we have more experienced and more senior members.)

With the same outcome from last season, the Animo Squad aims to end their decade-long podium-finish drought next year by sparking off the momentum from their well-executed routine this season.

Gab Ortiz

By Gab Ortiz

Luis Agus

By Luis Agus

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